DANCING AND SHAKING THE ZUMBA WAY WITH FRENCH INSTRUCTOR ALIX PFRUNDER
Alix Pfrunder first became interested in dance when she was 13. She soon fell in love with Latin dance but it wasn’t until a meeting with Alberto ‘Beto’ Peréz that she discovered the delights of Zumba.
‘I discovered Zumba in Paris by chance,’ Alix says. ‘Beto was coming to launch the concept in France, and I had the opportunity to meet him and to take some classes with him during his trip.’
When she talks of Beto, Alix is talking about the Colombian dancer and choreographer who created Zumba fitness in the nineties.
‘I immediately loved the concept and the way he was teaching it,’ Alix says. ‘Zumba is exercise in disguise. It’s a mix between Latin dance and fitness. It’s the best way to stay fit while having fun. Beto created it when he forgot his music to teach his fitness class, so he used what he found in his car – salsa, merengue, cumbia – and that became Zumba.’
Zumba’s combination of dance and aerobics with accompanying upbeat Latin music has made it popular across the world. ‘Zumba makes people happy. They dance, they feel good in their body and they lose weight without pain. During one hour they dance to music from all over the world, and discover how to move to new rhythms. I think most of the time people never think that they could dance and shake this way.’
‘I love that we can exercise while dancing to music that we love. Zumba also highlights global music so it’s like travelling around the world through music and dance in one class.’
After meeting Beto, Alix says she fell in love with Zumba. She decided to train to become an instructor and then launched Zumba in France. Alix set up zumbafrance.com in 2009 and began to teach.
‘Zumba became really popular in France,’ she says. ‘My classes got very full so I decided to hire instructors to build a strong team with different styles to please each and every student. Now I work with my team of 14 instructors. They are all professional dancers and fitness instructors, each with his or her own style and charisma. We all learn from each other so we have new styles of dances and new ways to teach.’
When Alix talks about Zumba and dance it’s clear how passionate and enthusiastic she is about it, and she wants to share that enthusiasm by getting others involved. But what about those of us who are new to dance, or lack co-ordination and feel maybe a little intimidated to give it a go.
‘Zumba is for everybody!’ Alix says. ‘You just have to follow the steps of the instructor. The steps repeat several times through the songs, so the participants can get the moves easily.
‘It’s the most fun workout ever. Since they are having fun while working out, they can’t wait to do it again. And that’s the key to success. They are dancing, jumping, screaming, singing and sweating with a smile.
‘When a person takes a Zumba class, they don’t just see a change in fitness level and body shape. Their happiness, self-esteem and confidence are also affected in a really positive way. It becomes a part of people’s lives and something that they look forward to every week.
‘People will always like to have fun, and when you know you have burnt calories on the dancefloor, it’s even more attractive. As long as people love to dance, Zumba will be their answer.’
JOIN ALIX as she leads a Zumba workout at VIBE this 21st March 2015.
VIBE is a fun-fuelled 15-hour beach sports & music festival happening at Sentosa’s Silos Beach on 21st March 2015. For more information, read our feature HERE